Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

three choc chip muffins

The infamous Lucy Jane woke up this morning and wanted chocolate chip muffins. As a mother who never lets her children down (oh how I wish that were true), I indulged. We actually made them together and it was fun to be in the kitchen with my daughter making breakfast (or dessert, depending on your perspective). We decided to double the recipe so that we could freeze a dozen and use them for snacks in their lunches for the upcoming week.

 

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The secret to these moist, tasty muffins is the buttermilk! You can use whole or regular milk, but these babies texture and taste are best when the buttermilk is used. And since we all are chocolate lovers in this house, I don’t skimp and use the mini chocolate chips. But if you are not into eating dessert first thing in the morning, the mini chips may be a good idea for you. ūüôā

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Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • half a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and gently fold together until combined. Scoop batter into a 12 cup muffin tin. Fill the cups close to the top. Bake the muffins at 425 for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 and bake for another 13-15 minutes.

Yields 1 dozen

 

Fudgy, Chewy, Chocolatey Brownies

I consider myself a connoisseur¬†of brownies. I have eaten hundreds of different kinds of brownies. I, of course, have a checklist of what I enjoy in a brownie and what makes an exceptional one! It has to be soft and chewy. It has to have that rich, fudgy, decadent flavor. Not to bitter and not to sweet. In my opinion, a brownie does not have to be frosted. If it is tasty enough to stand on its own, then let it! But if it is frosted, the frosting has to be good enough to not ruin the brownie. Okay, I’ll stop and just say that this brownie is ALL of these things. It is also easy to make. No fancy ingredients and no weird baking methods. Just a yummy brownie! And just for the record, these babies are good enough to stand on their own. So now it’s for you to decide: Frost or not to frost?

BEST BROWNIES

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand alone mixer, combine butter and sugar. Then add eggs and mix until combined. Add vanilla, cocoa and salt and mix. Add flour and combine. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into a 9×13 greased baking dish. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean.

FROSTING

  • 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate squares. In a stand alone mixer, cream the butter for about 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate, 4 cups powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix. Slowly add milk until the mixture begins to look like frosting. Then add one cup of powdered sugar at a time and adding milk to achieve the desired consistency. The trick to this frosting is to keep on whipping. Make sure all powdered sugar is blended before adding more.

Cool brownies completely before frosting.

 

 

 

Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies

Ok, to say that I have been obsessed with salted caramel over the past several months would be an understatement. I think about it, I dream about it, I want it all the time! I love the sweet taste of caramel with the distinct saltiness of sea salt at the end. I love the sweet and savory! I want it on cupcakes, custards, yogurts, milkshakes, breads, treats, you name it!

So, this cookie turned into a little salted caramel, chocolate, heaven on earth type dessert. Chewy brownie cookies with a creamy, salted caramel filling, I could die right now and be just fine! It happens to be the best thing that I have tasted in a long time. I tested it out on my Dad and my husband and both said,”winner!” And since I am in such a giving mood, I want you to have it, too!

Salted Caramel Brownie Cookies 

For the Cookie:

  • 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¬ľ ¬†cup flour, sifted
  • ¬ľ ¬†teaspoon baking powder, sifted

For the salted caramel creme filling

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¬ľ cup caramel sauce (I used Nestle’s La Lechera-Dulce de Leche)
  • ¬Ĺ ¬†teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place butter in a saucepan over low heat and gently stir until melted. Add 7 ounces of chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a stand up mixer, combine, eggs, sugar and vanilla and beat for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy. (The extreme beating gives this cookie its great texture! So set your timer!) Add in flour, baking powder, melted chocolate mixture, remaining 5 ounces of chocolate and mix just to combine. (Don’t over mix.)¬† Chill batter for 10 minutes. Dough should still be slightly gooey, but not watery.

Spoon 2 tablespoonful of the mixture, onto parchment lined jelly roll pan. Bake for 8‚Äď10 minutes or until puffed and cracked. Allow to cool completely on pans before transferring to a wire rack.

Caramel creme filling and assembly:

Place butter in a bowl and beat until fluffy., about 4 minutes. Mix in powdered sugar and salt, add in caramel and beat until smooth and creamy.

Spread or pipe the frosting in between two cookies. Sandwich them together.

Yields 12 large cookies

Francisco’s Shrimp Tacos

You all are in for a world famous treat ladies and gentlemen… this “to die for” recipe comes to us straight from the heart of coastal Mexico from our friend Francisco, who is known far and wide for his delicious culinary delights! ¬†This is one of our all time favorites from Francisco! ¬†You may not be lucky enough to travel to Mexico and stay at the private house where he’s the chef, few people are… but you can recreate his amazing Shrimp Tacos to enjoy at home with your family and friends. ¬†You will not be disappointed!!!!

Francisco’s Shrimp Tacos

  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 5 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 pounds cleaned, shelled raw shrimp, cut into large chunks
  • 1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups (or more, to taste) grated jack cheese
  • 14, 8 inch flour tortillas

In a non-stick skillet,over medium heat saute onion and tomatoes for about 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Using the same pan, crumble the bouillon cube over the shrimp and cook until just turning pink (about 2-3 minutes).  Mix cooked shrimp and veggies together.  Stir in cilantro and pour into a colander (placed over a bowl or in your kitchen sink) to drain for about 15 minutes.

For each tortilla, lay on a flat surface, sprinkle the middle third of the tortilla with cheese and scatter the shrimp and veggie mixture over cheese. ¬†Roll tightly and place seam side down on a jelly roll pan. ¬†Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (or skip this step if you’ll be using immediately).

To cook, spray a non-stick skillet with olive oil (I use a nonstick griddle for the larger cooking surface).  Brown the tacos on all sides.

To serve, cut in half, on an angle and place on plate drizzled with Balsamic Reduction (recipe follows), a dollop of Chipotle Sauce (recipe follows) and sliced avocados.

Balsamic Reduction:

  • 2 cups Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar

Stir vinegar and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Turn the heat down and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces to a syrup consistency.  Dont let it get too thick.  Pour into a squeeze bottle for drizzling.

Chipotle Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • small can chipotle peppers

In a blender, blend the mayonnaise  with chipotle peppers, one at a time, until desired heat is reached (I usually use 2 peppers).  Blend until smooth.  Blend in sour cream.

Asian Noodle Salad

You are going to LOVE this yummy and versatile recipe. ¬†We make this as a side dish, or add a little grilled chicken or poached shrimp and turn it into a meal! ¬†We get mad raves on this easy to make salad… we’re sure you will too.

What makes it so easy is that we use this yummy bottled dressing. ¬†As we’ve said before, we love to make yummy food, and we love it when we can find a product that makes the job of preparing that yummy food easier. ¬†This is one of those products… Soy Vay Toasted Sesame Dressing and Marinade. ¬†It can be found in most grocery stores, in the salad dressing isle. ¬†I use about half the bottle on the salad and then throw the rest in a ziplock bag with some chicken breasts to marinate for grilling.

Asian Noodle Salad

  • 1 pound angel hair pasta, broken in half and cooked to Al Dente, then immediately flushed with cold water in a colander
  • 3/4 cup Soy Vay Toasted Sesame Dressing
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup snow peas, diced to 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup baby peas (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped water chestnut

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients, and enjoy!

*I will also sometimes add some chopped brocoli and/or salted peanuts

Stacey’s Meltaway Cookies

Well, the school year has started again and so that means that HOT COOKIE MONDAY has started again as well. ¬†For those of you who are new to our little blog, “Hot Cookie Monday” is a tradition we came up with to help our families get through the dreaded first day of the work/school week. ¬†Here at Lucy Janes Best, we LOVE cookies! ¬†Every kind, every variety, every flavor! ¬†From simple to fancy, we love them all! ¬†Now we don’t know about all of you, but after a fun weekend spent doing whatever we want, Monday is quite the downer. ¬†So this tradition gives us something good to look forward to at the end of the day. ¬†Our families know that after school, right around 3:00, EVERY MONDAY, ¬†there will be hot, fresh, homemade cookies coming out of the oven. ¬†A good little pick me up, don’t you think? ¬†In fact, our tradition has become so well known around our circle of influence, that it’s not uncommon to get a few neighborhood drop in visitors. ¬†They all know to show up at 3:00 and cookies will be shared and enjoyed by all! ¬†So, if you start this tradition for your family, be sure to make a double batch every time… it doesn’t take long for the word to get out!

Over the past year we’ve made lots of yummy cookies and shared the recipes for you to enjoy. ¬†Here’s the links so you can jump start your Hot Cookie Mondays:¬†Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Lemon Crinkles, Toasted Coconut Thumbprints with Salted Caramel Cookies, No Bake Cookies, Lemon Coconut Cookies, Robert’s Chocolate Cookies, Double Peanut Butter Blossoms, Gingerbread Boys, Cornstarch Cookies, Homemaade Oreos, Double Chocolate Peppermint Surprise Cookies, Rolo Cookies, Pumpkin Chcolate Chip Cookies, Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies, Monster Cookies,¬†Brownie Cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies,¬†¬†& Chocolate Crinkles!

That ought to get you through to the new year and beyond, but don’t worry, we’ll keep posting our favorite cookie recipes, so you’ll have plenty to choose from. ¬†This week we made Stacey’s Meltaway Cookies. ¬†They are easy to make, to die for, deliciousness! ¬†When word got out that these were on the menu last Monday I had 5 drop ins… including one from Stacey herself! ¬†Nothing better than getting a few of your own favorite cookie without having to make them yourself, right? ¬†Thanks Stacey for this yummy recipe!

Stacey’s Meltaway Cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer, mix all ingredients together until well combined.  It will take a few minutes for the ingredients to come together; just turn the mixer on medium and let it work until everything is combined.  Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, then flatten each cookie slightly.

Bake 10 minutes, cookies will not brown, do not over cook.  Let cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Frost and serve.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar and mix to combine.  Add vanilla and mix.  Add milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.

Homemade Parmesan Breasticks

Sometimes you just need the goodness of a homemade breadstick. I felt that way last Sunday and wanted to make something to satisfy my craving. I used to believe that Sunday was a day of rest, but once I get baking and cooking, it becomes a day of food madness! But these babies were worth it! They don’t take long and they are easy to make. You can have hot, buttery, parmesan breadsticks in one hour!

Homemade Parmesan Breadsticks

  • 1 ¬Ĺ ¬†cups warm water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3 ¬Ĺ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt

To Brush on top

  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

In a small bowl mix the water, yeast and sugar together and let sit for 10 minutes.

In the bowl of your mixer add the flour and salt and mix. Pour the yeast water to the bowl and using the dough hook mix for a couple minutes until smooth. Let the dough rise for 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a large square. Brush the top with melted butter then sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Fold the dough in half and cut into 15 to 20 strips.

Twist each strip and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Let the twists sit for another 15 minutes to rise.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake the breadsticks for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. When they come out of the oven, brush the top with remaining butter.

Pumpkin Poppers

Oh, Pumpkin Poppers! You make the house smell like fall and you taste like a little bit of heaven in my mouth!

If you are a pumpkin bread lover, then this is a must try. We made these in the cooking class I teach to some young girls and not only were they a hit with the girls,¬†I had several mom’s who said that they couldn’t keep out of them either. They have a deep, rich, spice, pumpkin flavor that will have your taste buds saying, “thank you!” This is also a great recipe if you have a few little helpers around. Who doesn’t love to roll these goodies in cinnamon and sugar?

PUMPKIN POPPERS

  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4¬†teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¬†teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and all spices in a bowl. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and milk. Pour flour mixture into wet mixture until combined.

Fill mini muffin tins almost full.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

After poppers have cooled a few minutes, dip in melted butter and roll around in cinnamon sugar.

Melt

  • 1 cube butter¬† (may need additional cubes)

 Mix

  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons cinnamon

 Yields about 3 dozen mini poppers.

Chantilly Potatoes

What are Chantilly Potatoes? I knew that Chantilly was a town just outside of Paris, France. Is it such a great town that it had the way you prepare some potatoes named after it? YES! And did you know that Chantilly is famous for its cream? It is actually believed to have been the precursor for modern day whipped cream. And wouldn’t you know, the secret ingredient in this recipe is whipped cream! It’s all making sense now.

So in honor of Julia Child’s 100th birthday, here is a French inspired, easy, tasty potato side dish.

CHANTILLY POTATOES

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese‚Ä® (may also use Havarti, Gruyere)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Place potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for about 10 minutes, or until soft and tender. (I gave mine a shake halfway through) Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes well. Add salt and pepper then cover again and microwave for an additional 3 minutes.

In a large bowl beat the whipped cream until stiff and peaks form. Gently fold in about 2/3 of the whipped cream into the potatoes. Most of the cream will be absorbed into the potatoes. Pour potatoes into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Potatoes will look slightly uneven. Do not rub with spatula to even out as potatoes will lose their airiness and lighter texture. Mix the parmesan cheese and all but 1/4 cup of Swiss cheese into the remaining whipped cream. Spread the mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle with remaining Swiss cheese.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, until top is golden brown. Let rest about 5 minutes before serving.

Mom’s Chicken Salad

Hello Friends! How are you? We apologize for the lack of postings recently. We have been enjoying our summer vacations and have been busy creating memories with family and friends. However, now that school has started for some of us, it is back to the usual routines and chaos of dinnertime!

I spent 3 weeks up in California with Shannon this summer. We were actively typing our cookbook and were able to get a lot of it done. It has been such an exciting AND tiring process. They never really tell you how much work it is going to be. Luckily, this is our love and our passion, and now it is our little baby. We have high hopes of finishing this book within the next month or two! Woohoo!!

My awesome mom also lives in CA in the summertime and so I was able to spend some time with her as well. One Sunday evening she made her famous chicken salad and it made me happy for summer. Happy for all the yummy fruit, fresh vegetables and summer desserts. So if you are not sure what to make for dinner tonight, try this. And then pair it with some yummy fruit or fresh veggies. Yum!

MOM’S CHICKEN SALAD

  • 5 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1 ¬ľ cup diced celery
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
  • ¬Ĺ cup chopped almonds
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry‚Äôs seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • ¬ľ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¬Ĺ cup sour cream

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except mayonnaise, sour cream and almonds. Cover bowl and let marinate so flavors mesh together. After 1 to 2 hours mix in mayonnaise and sour cream. Add almonds just before serving.

Eat as a side salad, or serve on fresh bread or roll of your choice. May be served warm or chilled. Store in an airtight container. Refrigerate.